Short Hikes and Nature Walks

WHETHER YOU WANT TO GO FOR PLEASANT AFTER-WORK STROLL OR BIKE RIDE, OR FOLLOW A BOARDWALK INTO A WILD NATURAL AREA WHICH PRESERVES SOME OF THE MID-SOUTH'S MOST BEAUTIFUL HABITAT, THE WOLF RIVER HAS SOMETHING TO OFFER.

 

Wolf River Greenway 

This list does NOT include the Wolf River Greenway trail itself, but several of the trails below intersect the Greenway - For information and updates on the Wolf River Greenway Project, click here.  

 

Kennedy Park

John F. Kennedy Park (4575 Raleigh LaGrange Rd.) is the fifth largest park in Memphis at 260 acres.  Built in the mid-1990s by the Conservancy and volunteers, this 1.25 mile trail (one way) begins atop a hill at a gravel trailhead parking across from the Alzheimer's Center.  Walk down the hill following yellow signs and enter the forest where the trail winds through big trees.  The trail becomes a boardwalk for a quarter mile through a high quality bottomland hardwood forest. The trail then zigzags across the Wolf River Greenway and along the banks of the Wolf River.  You can make it a loop trail by walking the park roads back to the gravel trailhead parking.

For a map of John F. Kennedy Park, click here.

 

The beach at Epping way

Started by an boy scout troop in 2019 and finished to the beach by volunteers on MLK Jr. Day in 2020, this unpaved hiking and mountain biking trail connects to Phase 9 of the Wolf River Greenway at 2630 Epping Way Drive, Memphis, TN.  The 2-5 ft wide path squeezes between the river and the Conservancy's 20-acre lake for over 0.5-mile to a large beach in a major bend of the river.  The total out-and-back distance from the parking area at Epping Way cul-de-sac to the beach and back is roughly 1.7 miles.  Wolf River Conservancy is planning to extend this trail all the way around the lake to connect back with the Greenway for a nice loop trail.

 

Lucius Burch State Natural Area

Designated in 1988 by Wolf River Conservancy and local partners, Lucius Burch SNA is located in Shelby Farms along the Wolf River and is accessed from: Walnut Grove Road near the bridge over the rivernear Germantown Road and Walnut Bend at the paved parking area or at the gravel parking area at the Raptor Center The northern section can also be accessed on foot or bike via the Shelby Farms Greenline, Unpaved hiking and biking trails afford good river views.  Old channelized streams and exotic invasive plants, such as privet, illustrate some of the effects of channelization and urbanization. Conversely, pockets of high quality bottomland hardwood forest with a state-listed species are found along the trails as well.  For a map, see the trails in the dark green areas in the south and western portions of Shelby Farms Park:  click here for rough trail map.

 

Germantown Greenway and Wolf River Nature Area

The Germantown Greenway is a 4-mile paved trail in the Wolf River Nature Area, which can be accessed from Wolf River Blvd. between Kirby and Riverdale,  between Riverdale and Germantown Pkwy., or from Germantown Pkwy. at the Chik-Fil-A parking lot. The trail includes interpretive signs, benches, butterfly gardens, and wetlands. Thanks to the efforts of WRC and community leaders, the Germantown Greenway now connects to the Wolf River Greenway.  One day there will be a continuous trail extending 15 miles west to the Mississippi River and 15 miles east to Collierville-Arlington Rd. 

For a map of the Germantown Greenway and surrounding area, please click here.

 

Riverwoods State Natural Area, Germantown

The trailhead for this short unpaved trail is located on Kimbrough Rd just south of Wolf River Blvd. Look for the kiosk next to a gravel parking lot. Recently, TDEC Division of Natural Areas removed exotic invasive privet to restore the habitat.  For a complete description and a map, click here.

 

Overton Park and old forest state Natural Area, Memphis, TN

Overton Park is an amazing ecological refuge within the heart of Memphis and lies within the Wolf River watershed.  Enjoy old growth hardwood forest on the many paved and unpaved trails within the park and natural area. Overton Park Conservancy stewards and manages this park in partnership with city of Memphis.  DIRECTIONS  For more information on the park and Overton Park Conservancy, visit overtonpark.org

 

Peterson Lake Nature Center at W.C. Johnson Park, Collierville

Peterson Lake Nature Center encompasses a 0.7 mile long boardwalk from Peterson Lake, a natural oxbow,  through forest and wetlands to the banks of the Wolf River. At the end of the boardwalk, you can see part of the Wolf River restoration project, i.e., one of the  rip-rap weirs created by the U.S. Corps of Engineers to stop the degradation of the river caused by channelization. Deer and other wildlife are frequently seen along the boardwalk, and there are abundant cypress, tupelo, and other trees. DIRECTIONS to Johnson Park, follow Bill Morris Pkwy. (385) to Byhalia Rd., go left or north, and stay on Byhalia Rd. which will dead-end at Johnson Park.  Keep driving past the play areas and the lake. The road makes a small loop and becomes a parking lot.  Look for the Peterson Lake Nature Center sign and the beginning of the boardwalk. 

For more information, visit the Collierville Parks website.

 

Wolf River Wildlife Area, Collierville

A large park north of Collierville contains over 2,000 acres of woods and wetlands along both sides of the Wolf River. The 5-mile crushed limestone trail is open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk and can be accessed at the Collierville-Arlington Rd. bridge where there is a gravel parking lot on the north side of the river. The park can be accessed at its western end from Bethany Rd. Eventually, the trail will extend for 8 miles to Houston-Levee Rd. The farm fields north of the woods are now open for hiking and biking. The map below shows a trail on the farm roads. There are two parking areas off Collierville-Arlington Rd.,one on the north side of the bridge, and one farther north at the main trailhead. On the map, TR-1,2,4,5,6 all represent the tributary weirs. There is no hunting and no ATV (four-wheeler) use allowed.  Day-use only. The County sheriff’s deputies have begun checking the parking areas after dark.   

Wolf River Wildlife Area Map

 

William B. Clark Preserve

A short unpaved trail along the Wolf River leads from the parking lot to a boardwalk through a first-class wetland with tupelo and cypress trees. The entrance to the Clark Preserve is .25 miles north of the Wolf River Café and Rossville Square. Go over the bridge and turn into the parking lot on your right. The Clark Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy.  For a complete description and a map, click here.

Clark Preserve information from The Nature Conservancy.

 

Bateman Bridge, Moscow

The area around the boat ramp was protected by Wolf River Conservancy in 2016 and 2018 and is now part of Ghost River State Natural Area. This boat ramp at Bateman Bridge offers access to the Wolf River. There is no trail, but wading is possible here because the bottom of the river is sandy and the river is usually fairly shallow. Shoes are recommended. Take Hwy 57 east through Moscow and take a right onto Bateman Rd. DIRECTIONS.  For a map of the area, click here.

 

Mineral Slough Boardwalk, Ghost River State Natural Area, LaGrange

The 0.5-mile Mineral Slough trail and boardwalk traverses a fine stretch of bottomland hardwood swamp characteristic of the Wolf River floodplain. The Ghost River is a section of the Wolf River in which the river seems to disappear, widening into a broad, vegetation-filled swamp. It is a popular destination for paddlers and has been named one of the best wetland canoe trails in the country. DIRECTIONS. To read a complete description and for a map, click here.

 

Baker's Pond, Holly Springs National Forest, Mississippi

This is a beautiful hike to the source of the Wolf River, a large spring-fed pond about .25 miles from the trailhead, in the hills of Benton County, Mississippi. Look for natural springs trickling out of the earth and the unique purple sands along the stairs on the trail.  Click here for DIRECTIONS:  on Hwy 72 heading east, ff you cross the Tippah County line, you've gone too far. Turn right or south at the small brown sign for Baker's Pond onto Tower Rd., and bear right where the road forks. Look for the Baker’s Pond trailhead parking area on the left.  The trail used to connect to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, but a large tornado destroyed that portion of the forest and has overgrown the trail.  Restoration efforts are being made to repair the trail.                                                                                                                                   

Baker's Pond Map
Baker's Pond Photos